Sunday, December 07, 2014

Can You GIve Yourself a Day Off?

I agree, it may seem like the craziest time of year to bring this up, and maybe it is, but let’s just plant the seed now and begin to grow toward the practice of having one day off every week.

I know, most of us in traditional jobs think we have two days off—called the weekend—but you know better. I know better. If you have kids, in-laws, a fabulous hobby or you want to write a book or start a small business then you know the truth: you have no days off.

That’s my life too—great job, plus writing, teaching, caregiving, family who live far away but who need attention, and my aspirations: eating better, being more fit and even being more relaxed means doing more stuff: Yoga class, meditation group, church, and taking workshops. Recovery means another list of things I want and need to do.

Yeah, all that “make life better” stuff can contribute to making life stressful.

So now I’m getting the messages: I hear a panel by a group of women I admire –all super high achievers-- and they have committed to taking Friday’s off. I read a “Shortcuts to Happiness” article in a women’s magazine and it says, “Take one day off-with no errands.” Then I pick up an article on Christian theology and there it is again, “Take a sabbatical—once a week.” It’s the idea of Sabbath, a day of rest, a real weekend, no-tech days.

Can I do this? Can you? Can we try?

I know that can’t do it all at once but in the coming New Year I’d like to get there. My baby steps are these: computer off at 9pm on school nights, then get in bed with a book by 9:30. No email after 6pm on Fridays—when I’m home with my man really be home with him—not in the next room clicking away. And social media? Yes, it has snuck up on me and now I need to sneak away. I’m not reading every post, not following every link, and the pressure to use every mode? (You must Pinterest! You must Instragram!)
 Hmmmm..No I don’t.

It’s that old “wants” and “needs” thing: What do you need to do? What do you want to do? What do you have to do? And what are you choosing to do? Most of the time when we say, “I have to do X”, the truth is that we are making a choice…and seeing our decisions as choices means we are not victims.

So can you give yourself a free day? An evening? Or an hour? Begin now to baby-step it, see yourself making choices. Take a breath, say no, and ask the Mary Oliver question:

“What will you do with your one, wild and precious life?

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